A lot of songwriters will tell you that they draw inspiration from phrases that come up in conversation, and I can attest to that. This one came from a conversation about Tom Petty's "Southern Accents." I was born in North Carolina and have spent my entire adult life here, so the quirks of Southernness hold a special place in my heart. I told the person that the song warmed my "Carolina heart." And that's how it all began.
The idea from the beginning was to write from the perspective of someone who has left the small-town life to pursue their dreams, and has found that, no matter how far away they go or how tough the world around them is, that they're unbreakable because of where they came from. The bright lights of the city can't compare to the fire inside of them.
It's an upbeat song about facing challenges that you didn't expect. It's about having your idealistic views of the world shattered. It's about persisting even when the odds are against you. But ultimately it's about knowing that you're who you are because of where you came from. That's something for everyone, whether you're from Carolina or not.